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Dale - Computer Science Illuminated 34

Dale - Computer Science Illuminated 34 - 1.1 Computing...

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Abstraction A mental model that removes complex details 1.1 Computing Systems 7 each step in turn and you will be amazed at how well it all falls into place. Abstraction The levels of a computing system that we just examined are examples of abstraction. An abstraction is a mental model, a way to think about some- thing, which removes or hides complex details. An abstraction leaves only the information necessary to accomplish our goal. When we are dealing with a computer on one layer, we don’t need to be thinking about the details of the other layers. For example, when we are writing a program, we don’t have to concern ourselves with how the hardware carries out the instructions. Likewise, when we are running an application program, we don’t have to be concerned with how that program was written. Numerous experiments have shown that a human being can actively manage about seven (plus or minus two, depending on the person) pieces of information in short-term memory at one time. This is called Miller’s
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